Flat Bush (Ormiston)

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Flat Bush lives up to its name. It is flat (mostly!) and includes the Murphys Bush reserve – an oasis of native trees, birds and quiet solitude amid the bustle of a rapidly expanding residential suburb.

Flat Bush is best described as a work in progress. Houses are going up everywhere as this former area of farmland is rapidly transformed into a residential suburb. Long time lifestyle and small farm property owners are gradually selling-up as their land is developed for housing. Many of the newcomers are immigrants from Asia and Europe as well as from other parts of New Zealand.

As one of Auckland’s newest housing areas, Flat Bush complies with the aims of the new Auckland Plan which calls for more medium and high density housing. As a result, the area is taking on an exciting but very different look from the traditional quarter acre pavlova paradise of old New Zealand.

Flat Bush is also one of New Zealand’s most comprehensively planned urban developments, which means it is not just about housing. Being developed alongside new housing is the huge 94 hectare Barry Curtis Park. It is a park with a difference and well worth a trip from the city via the distinctive bridge on Ormiston Road that runs through the middle of the park.

The park is made up of undulating farmland with a number of ponds and an extensive system of restored stream corridors. The design was inspired by local volcanic geology, historical defensive sites and the farming vernacular of the site. Features include a wetland neighbourhood playspace; cultural lawn and amphitheatre suitable for large-scale events; multi-sports complex, fields and facilities; ecological enhancements through extensive wetlands and stream restoration; an iconic pedestrian bridge; signature arts areas including sculptures; an education centre; and picnic area with covered facilities. And for the teens, there’s a superb skate park designed with input from the local community.

But some long-standing features of Flat Bush still remain, notably the Murphys Bush reserve. Murphys Bush has the largest remaining stand of mature lowland bush in Auckland and the finest examples of mature Kahikatea (white pine) which are coniferous and endemic to New Zealand. Take a walk along any of the paths and within a couple of minutes you will be completely lost among the native trees and shrubs – the nearby urban development and busy road completely disappear from sight.

Adjacent to the reserve is the historic Flat Bush School hall (now used as a local community centre) and the Baverstock Cottage, combining to make a small heritage precinct.

A much more modern landmark is the spectacular Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple. Enjoy the vegetarian cafe on site and the cherry tree blossoms (at the right time of year). Visitors are welcome, but it is a place of spiritual meditation and contemplation so be respectful and dress appropriately.

History

The Flat Bush area has a history that dates back to before 850AD. At that time it was known as Pukekiwiriki, named after the grandchild Ruaumoko the Maori God of Volcanoes. The current name of Flat Bush came into use in the 1850s, reflecting how the forest landscape looked from the surrounding hills.

The oldest, and only remaining historical building is Flat Bush School, Flat Bush School Road, built 1877.

The Flat Bush area is the last significant “greenfields” area in Manukau and was identified as an area for development in the Auckland Regional Growth Strategy in 1999. However this potential had been realised much earlier. In the early 1970s, Manukau City Council identified about half of the undeveloped Flat Bush area as suitable for future urban development. The council made sure it was protected, resulting in most of the area remaining as farmland. The other half of the area was identified for future urban development in 1997 when the council first began consulting with the wider community on the area’s development. This area has been largely lifestyle blocks of five to 10 hectares, developed over the past 30 years.

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East Auckland Tourism

Official visitor information site for the East of Auckland area, promoting our fantastic destination to local visitors and tourists.

The region offers a multitude of activities, everything from night entertainment to relaxation in the sun, fun for the family and stylish dining. 

Our association supports local businesses that offer products and services in hospitality and activity related industries.

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